Enzymatic Synthesis of Diverse Heterocycles by a Noncanonical Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase

Abstract
Nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) are typically multimodular enzymes that assemble amino acids or carboxylic acids into complex natural products. Here, we characterize a monomodular NRPS, PvfC, encoded by the Pseudomonas virulence factor (pvf) gene cluster that is essential for virulence and signaling in different bacterial species. PvfC exhibits a unique adenylation-thiolation-reductase (ATR) domain architecture that is understudied in bacteria. We show that the activity of PvfC is essential in the production of seven leucine-derived heterocyclic natural products, including two pyrazines, a pyrazinone, and a rare disubstituted imidazole, as well as three pyrazine N-oxides that require an additional N-oxygenation step. Mechanistic studies reveal that PvfC, without a canonical peptide-forming domain, makes a dipeptide aldehyde intermediate en route to both the pyrazinone and imidazole. Our work identifies a novel biosynthetic route for the production of pyrazinones, an emerging class of signaling molecules and virulence factors. Our discovery also showcases the ability of monomodular NRPSs to generate amino acid- and dipeptide-aldehydes that lead to diverse natural products. The diversity-prone biosynthesis by the pvf-encoded enzymes sets the stage for further understanding the functions of pvf in bacterial cell-to-cell signaling.

Citation
Enzymatic Synthesis of Diverse Heterocycles by a Noncanonical Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase Gina L. Morgan, Kelin Li, Drake M. Crawford, Jeffrey Aubé, and Bo Li ACS Chemical Biology 2021 16 (12), 2776-2786 DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.1c00623